A recent publication in BioMed
Central, reviewed the latest researches on bipolar disorder
, a mental
illness characterized by extreme mood swings between depression and mania, and
analyzed the mystery behind the restless mind inflicted with this psychiatric
Depression in bipolar
disorder is conventionally associated with melancholy, where the patients
exhibit retardation of mental and physical activities and remain indifferent to
any happy situation. However, recent
findings, which indicate that people with bipolar disorder ruminate in both
depressed and manic moods, contradict this fact, as the tendency to ruminate
involves high mental activity.
Rumination, in both
bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder, is a way of responding to
depression wherein the affected person repeatedly analyses the cause and
outcomes of the distress and develops a negative opinion about oneself leading
to low self-esteem.
The distinguishing factor of bipolar disorder type II
mental illness is that the patients, while in hypomanic mood, ruminate
in a positive manner with an elevated self-confidence and focus on their
lifetime goals, in response to positive feelings.
The experts opine
that the tendency to ruminate in response to positive experiences might be to
sustain the good feel the persons get by focusing on their goals and
Though there are inconsistencies in terms of structural
abnormalities of the brain in bipolar disorder, studies seem to agree that
functional disturbances of the brain exist in patients with bipolar disorder.
Experts feel that rumination in bipolar disorder is due to executive
dysfunction, i.e. inability to coordinate physical movements or mental
thoughts. Many areas of the brain associated with bipolar disorder appear to
overlap with the areas involved in rumination. The authors call for a deeper
probe into the neural mechanism of rumination in bipolar disorder to find the
consequences of both positive and negative rumination.
Rumination in Bipolar Disorder: Evidence for an Unquiet Mind; Sharmin et al;
Biology of Mood and Anxiety Disorders 2012